Sunday, 16 July 2017

Flutter Sleeve Blouse from a Vintage Pattern

At the end of May I cut out three new projects ready to sew, which is unusual for me because I normally limit myself to one thing at a time. I completed the first one here but life gets busy. OFSTED turned up at work, and some of you will have an understanding of what this means for any free time that you might have planned. 

Anyway, I have been looking at blouses with gathered cuffs for some time and wanted to make one for myself. I had a vintage pattern with just the sleeve I was looking for and the fabric to make it in my stash. I just needed to bring them both together. I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it. It is covered in passion flowers and lilies. I bought 2 one-yard pieces from the remnant stall on Leicester market.

I haven't been disappointed. The blouse is so pretty and makes me feel very feminine. The sleeves are comfortable to wear. They are short enough for the ruffles not to get in the way when you have a busy lifestyle.

I used a vintage pattern that I have made before here and this time I chose view D.

I didn't have enough fabric for the ruffles round the neck and down the front but I also thought these would be impractical for everyday. 

The fabric was very challenging. It is slippery,  springy and frays like mad. I sewed everything together as far as making the ruffles quite quickly. I used french seams throughout which has made the inside very neat and dealt with the fraying issues. I found that everything needed to be tacked first. Pins just didn't keep the layers together in the right place. 

A french seam and the last few tacking stitches still in place
The sleeve ruffles are circular and lined. I took a long time over these because I needed to stop and think at every stage. All of the seams wanted to spring flat and didn't hold a crease well.

Edge stitching around the ruffle edge

After sewing the top layer to the lining I added an extra row of stitching near to the edge to keep the facing in place just like I had around the neck, and this really helped. I then pinned and tacked the two layers together about half way up and close to the sleeve seam before slashing the seam allowance and stitching the facing in place by hand. All this extra care has paid off because the ruffles do hang really nicely.

The underside of the ruffle showing facing
I have made this pattern before so I didn't think I needed a toille. I was wrong. If you look closely at the photos you will see that the bust darts are about 2 inches too high. I don't remember altering the darts on the blouse last time and they are a much better fit. I'm not sure that I can do anything about this now, but because I put so much work into the ruffles and I like the fabric so much that I am going to wear my blouse. My none sewing friends don't seem to notice. 

You can see how the blouse pulls across the front on this photo. 

Most of the time it looks fine...

The back fastening lies flat when I put my arm back down again.

We have passion flowers growing just outside our bedroom window at the moment spilling over the fence from next door. They really are amazing


  1. Rosemary this is so pretty. You have worked so hard on those sleeves they look amazing! The fabric is truly gorgeous.
    I bet you are glad OFSTED are now out of the way for a relaxing summer. We have had the threat of the big O hanging over our heads for the past 6 months as they last visited our school 3 years ago. Its likely to be in the Autumn term now.

    1. I think the problems I had with the sleeves were due to using modern fabric with a vintage pattern. I am pleased with the finished result though.

  2. I have a dress pattern somewhere with the neck and front ruffles, I have made it as the pattern, with long sleeves, sleeveless and as a blouse with a button back. I find that sleeve ruffles, although pretty, annoy me. They just seem to be in the way of however I want to move my arms. Your blouse makes me reconsider that, I may make a set of ruffles and slip stitch them to a top and wear it in the house to try it out.

    1. I think these ruffles are OK because the sleeves are only elbow length. I usually find loose sleeves very annoying but these are alright.

  3. This is so pretty! The sleeves are gorgeous.